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What is a Butter Curler?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A butter curler is a kitchen gadget that is designed to assist cooks in carving butter into fanciful shapes and curls. It is often included in a set of garnishing tools that might include other gadgets such as lemon zesters and melon ballers. Although most cooks do not have a need for this utensil, the device can be quite useful, especially for formal dinners. Carved butter garnishes at the table can add an elegant look, and many restaurants use butter curlers for this purpose.

Strange-Looking Utensil

The construction of a butter curler might look slightly bizarre to someone who is not familiar with the tool. It has a long handle attached to a serrated and hooked metal blade. With practice, a cook can drag the blade across a stick of chilled butter to generate wispy shavings of butter, tightly furled butter flowers and other garnishes. This utensil also can be used to create delicate textured patterns in butter.

How It Is Used

Working with a butter curler can take a few tries before a cook gets it right. As a general rule, the butter is chilled, and the butter curler is warmed before use. Varying amounts of pressure yield different curled butter designs. If the butter breaks or flakes, it is too cold and should be allowed to warm slightly before the cook tries again.

After butter garnishes have been sculpted with a butter curler, they should be kept in ice water or under refrigeration so that the shape does not collapse. If the butter is going to be presented in a large bowl at a table, it can be chilled in the bowl, and the cool surface of the bowl will help the butter stay firm throughout table service. The addition of a garnish such as parsley can add visual interest to the presentation.

Other Uses

There are other potential uses for a butter curler. The device can be used to shave chocolate, for example. When foods such as chocolate and butter need to be melted, a butter curler can be used to make small, easily melted shavings, which will cut down the time required for the melting process. Some crafters use butter curlers to make wax shavings, which can be decorative when mounded around the bases of candles.

Shopping Tips

When selecting a butter curler, a consumer should try to find one with a smooth, solid handle that is made from metal or plastic. Handles that have holes in them should be avoided because the holes can be a place for small bits of food and even host bacteria to collect. This utensil tends to get greasy, so one that can be washed in an electric dishwasher can save a person from having to wash it by hand.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By peasy — On Feb 24, 2011

@visionary--Yes, I have a butter curler that is attached to a melon scoop. I use it all the time to shape my butter and cheese when I want to have a pretty presentation for a meal or party. It is actually very easy to use, just make sure that like the butter, the cheese is chilled and you should be fine.

By visionary — On Feb 23, 2011

Very cool! I always wondered how the restaurants serve butter in different shapes. I like that you can use it for chocolate as well. I got one for Christmas last year and did not know what to do with it. I am going to pull it out and try again. Thanks for the info. Since you can also use it for chocolate, I was wondering if you can use it on chilled cheese as well? Anyone ever try it?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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